So here we go – something to do. Are you a web developer with some time on your hands that wants to do something creative, useful and potentially world-impacting? Then Tom Steinberg’s charitable web incubator MySociety.org might be an ideal environment for your talents. It’s an attempt to build applications that might enrich or contribute to civic society – applications that fulfil a need just like UpMyStreet.com andFaxYourMP.com do. There’s an article in the Guardian today which explains it more successfully and eloquently than I can hope to. Here’s a quick pithy excerpt:
We are setting up an organisation you might think of as a charitable incubator for those who want to develop software to make society better, and who want to pay the bills while doing it. We’re calling it MySociety.org. And we need your help … Companies don’t produce these tools because there isn’t money in it. Government has a different problem. It doesn’t seem able to take advantage of what the internet is best at – applications that are cheap to produce, that do something peopleneed and cost roughly the same no matter how many people are using them. Sadly, the public sector seems bound by all sorts of obligations that prevent it from being able to create such cheap and cheerful services … Complaining about this isn’t any good – we need to demonstrate how it can be done. Which is where MySociety.org comes in.